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Cultural Heritage Reform

Are you compliant? 

Like in other states, Western Australia has recently enacted new Aboriginal cultural heritage legislation. For companies whose activities may cause ground disturbance or potentially impact Aboriginal heritage sites, this will mean the adoption of new management systems and strategies in order to comply with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 (WA).

For some organisations, the changes required may be seen as complex or resource-heavy to administer themselves.

However, failure to implement the new system may result in costly penalties or, worse, projects delayed because of approvals not being in place.

If the thought of transitioning your cultural heritage systems and processes leaves you feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help. We come with decades of experience in heritage systems development and implementation, including in jurisdictions with a comparable legislative landscape, such as NSW and QLD.

3 Steps to Reform Compliance


Health Check

Review your heritage management system and how it measures up against a best practice model and how your core activities sit within the new ACH compliance pathway.


Gap Analysis

Identify areas where you might be at risk across your internal systems, processes and procedures, human resources and project timeframes.


Take Action

Outline a roadmap to comply with the new legislation, including, due diligence assessments, relationship building, field assessments, management plan development and permit applications.

From strategy to end-to-end implementation, find out how we can help you evolve your cultural heritage system.

Strategic advice to maintain compliance and safeguard your business

Shape a robust cultural heritage management program

Community consultation and engagement

Legislative reform across the country has seen more emphasis placed on collaborative consultation. The experience gained through our strong working relationships with many Traditional Owner groups, government and industry professionals enables us to provide a stakeholder engagement process that can achieve favourable results for all participants. We find effective consultation often results in an efficient approvals process, saving time, money and headaches, and optimum heritage outcomes.


Auditing the compliance of existing heritage systems and developing bespoke solutions, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), to support best practice heritage management. These fundamentals help you remedy deficiencies, improve operations and confidently meet your legislative requirements.

Heritage information and planning sessions

Tailored information sessions to educate your team on best practice cultural heritage management principles and systems.

Our practitioners customise delivery to offer packages that best meet your organisation’s needs.

Heritage agreement making

When you need access to land for your project, draw on our expertise in heritage agreement making. Our experience with and understanding of all stakeholder requirements are instrumental to our success in heritage negotiations and agreement development. Our advice integrates your business plans, legislative obligations and heritage conservation to ensure agreements meet your commercial requirements, and the needs of Traditional Owners and the government.

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Reform

Frequently Asked Questions

Why has new legislation been introduced in WA and what sectors does it affect?

The purpose of the ACH Act is to replace outdated Aboriginal cultural heritage laws and achieve equity between Traditional Owners, industry and government bodies.

Western Australia’s mining, infrastructure and urban development industries face significant changes to approval processes, management plan requirements and timelines as the ACH Act comes into operation in 2023.

What are the base level requirements for proponents under the new legislation?

To better protect Aboriginal cultural heritage, the ACH Act has introduced a series of new measures that were not present in the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. These new base level requirements include:

  • Pre-approval including due-diligence assessments and cultural heritage
  • investigations done in consultation with Aboriginal people
  • Aboriginal cultural heritage plan management and the inclusion of heritage impact statements, created in consultation with Aboriginal people
When will the ACH Act come into operation?
The ACH Act is expected to come into full force in 2023. We are currently in a transitional period during which the ACH Act’s regulations, statutory guidelines and operational policies are being finetuned.

However, certain sections of ACH Act have already come into effect, such as the introduction of a five-year limit on any new section 18 consents.

How should businesses, industry and proponents prepare for the ACH Act?

Businesses should already be preparing to meet the legislative requirements of the ACH Act so they can avoid projects delays or ministerial intervention in the future.

Arrow Heritage Solutions can advise you how to integrate the new WA Aboriginal heritage legislation into your projects so you are ready.


Heritage Systems

Our cultural heritage consultants are experts at helping organisations across Australia plan, develop and implement effective cultural heritage systems.

Field Assessments

We devise & deliver cultural heritage fieldwork programs for mine expansions, resource exploration drilling, urban development & infrastructure projects.